Summerhill Pyramid Winery: Canada's Most Visited Vineyard

Summerhill Pyramid Winery: Canada's Most Visited Vineyard

Nestled in Okanagan, British Columbia, you will find a stunning vineyard called Summerhill Winery. The vineyard is family run and has made its commitment to providing high quality, sustainable wine its central mission.

In this blog we highlight the uniqueness of Summerhill Winery and how its commitment to authenticity has turned it into Canada’s most visited vineyard.

Key Takeaways

  • Summerhill Winery is Canada's most visited winery due to its organic, biodynamic farming practices and unique features.
  • The winery has a commitment to sustainable practices, shown through their organic certification, Demeter Biodynamic certification, and B-Corp status.
  • The Summerhill Pyramid enhances wine flavor.
  • Summerhill Winery has a strong vision emphasizing gratitude, universal connectedness, and harmony with nature.
  • Wineries like Summerhill can use memoryKPR and QR codes to enhance storytelling, deepen customer connections, and foster a vibrant brand community.

Origins

Summerhill Winery was purchased by the Cipes family in 1986, who believed that organic wine making practices allowed for grapes to honestly express their surroundings, and provided qualities that are truly articulate of the Okanagan region.

The Okanagan region remained unsettled by Europeans until the 20th century, unlike other parts of Canada. One of the few settlers that made the trek to the Okanagan region was Henry Cecil Mallam, an Englishman who arrived in Canada in 1903 seeking opportunities. He acquired land in Okanagan Mission Kelowna in 1904, which included a log house built in 1897. 

In the gully near the Mallam residence lies the Makwala Kekuli, a replica of the sacred earth house used by Indigenous peoples for centuries as their winter home.  The fire in the center kept the earth covered dome warm and many friends and family were able to enjoy sleeping and cooking and storytelling. This fire holds sacred significance as it's believed to serve as a connection to the ancestors on the other side. This Indigenous practice is generously shared by the WestBank First Nation with all, offering Europeans a unique glimpse into this profound tradition.

The Indigenous peoples and Summerhill have established three guidelines to honor the ancestors:

  • Prohibition of alcohol or drugs inside or near the Kekuli.
  • All entrants must comprehend the sanctity and refrain from trivial conversation within the "womb."
  • No ceremonies are allowed without the WestBank First Nations authorization.

The Makwala Kekuli and the adjacent Mallam Cabin are Canada’s only First Contact Exhibit. The cabin is restored and furnished in its original 1800’s condition and is open for touring in small groups of up to ten with no reservation required.

Organic Wine & Demeter international 

Summerhill’s winemaking is certified 100% organic, which is why you will see a Canadian certified organic logo on their bottles. In addition, no synthetics are used in their products and ensure biodiversity is a primary focus in their farming. 

In 1988, the vineyard entered the Demeter Biodynamic certification process, and in 2012 they received their certification. 

Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing

Demeter’s “biodynamic” certification requires biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, soil husbandry, prohibition of genetically engineered organisms and viewing the farm as a living “holistic organism”. The certification verifies the fulfillment of the standards on behalf of the farmers, which in turn guarantees high quality food products to the consumers.

B-Corp Certified

Summerhill is the first winery in Canada to be accredited as a Certified B Corporation and is one of only 26 wineries worldwide to gain this certification.This mark ultimately acknowledges that Summerhill Winery focuses on people and planet, not just profit.

Being B-Corp certified means a businesses overall impact on the environment and community is looked at and analyzed; a company that obtains this certification means they prioritize people, the environment, alongside profit, and are using business to make a positive impact in the world around them. 

Iconic Summerhill Pyramid

Did you know Summerhill has a replica of the Great Pyramid on site (see photo below!) and that the Pyramid actually has an effect on the taste of the wine?

image of the summerhill winery pyramid where wine is aged

Every day at 2pm for 3 years, Summerhill did tours in the pyramid with the general public. Taste comparisons of the same wine, bottled on the same day, and served at the same temperature commenced.   One was stored in the pyramid for 30-90 days and the other never having been put in the pyramid. 

The results were overwhelming.  The tasters chose the pyramid-aged wine almost unanimously every day as being smoother and having a better aroma.  These experiments proved that indeed, a precisely constructed pyramid becomes a chamber for the "clarification" of liquids.

Vision 

Summerhill has a strong vision of gratitude and abundance for people & planet and seeks to share universal truth, love and gratitude. The team follows seven principles that shape the way they make wine and overall how they interact with the world. They are: 

  1. Gratitude
  2. Love
  3. People
  4. Planet
  5. Passion
  6. Abundance
  7. Pioneership

At its core, Summerhill is committed to living in harmony with nature, and harvesting soulful, beautiful food and returning nutrients back to the earth. They believe we are all connected and it is their hope that they can enhance the lives of their customers through extraordinary organic pyramid cellared wines, organic local cuisine, and by all of our interactions together.

The brand’s commitment to providing its customers with a superior wine experience, sharing it’s unique story with the world, and committing to not only producing the highest quality wine but also to preserving the environment and community around them in a testament to the truly incredible brand they have built and will continue to build for years to come. 

To shop their amazing collection of organic wines or to book your visit, visit summerhill.bc.ca

memoryKPR and the Future of Wine Experiences

Wineries like Summerhill Winery possess an abundance of stories to share – the history of the land, the passion behind their sustainable practices, and the unique characteristics of each vintage.

memoryKPR offers an innovative way to bring those stories to life and create a stronger connection with customers.

Here's how it works:

  • QR Codes on Bottles and Beyond: Summerhill could place QR codes on wine bottles and throughout the vineyard. When scanned, these codes would lead customers to a memoryKPR story.
  • Rich Multimedia Content: In the memoryKPR story, Summerhill can offer exclusive content like:
    • Vineyard tours with the winemaker
    • In-depth explanations of organic and biodynamic practices
    • Behind-the-scenes glimpses at the winemaking process
    • Interviews with the Cipes family, sharing their vision and history
    • Recipes and food pairings specifically tailored to Summerhill wines
  • Community Engagement: memoryKPR allows customers to share their own experiences with Summerhill wines – their favorite pairings, cherished moments, or photos enjoying a glass with friends. This fosters a sense of community and shared appreciation.

Benefits of memoryKPR for Summerhill Winery

  • Deeper Engagement: Customers gain a richer understanding of Summerhill's unique identity and commitment to quality.
  • Increased Brand Loyalty: Interactive experiences and a sense of community build strong bonds with customers.
  • Valuable Insights: Summerhill can gather customer feedback and preferences through the memoryKPR platform.

By providing immersive content and a platform for interaction, wineries like Summerhill can create memorable experiences that extend far beyond simply enjoying a glass of wine. Customers can connect with each other, share their experiences, and learn from one another.

Ultimately, this is how wineries like Summerhill can cultivate a passionate, dedicated brand community that will not only choose their wines but also become vocal advocates for the brand.


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